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Saturday, May 29, 2010

she who does not obey

A while back, She Who Does Not Obey expressed a wish that her pseudonym be changed, offended by its accurate description no doubt. I started to consider it, despite my fondness for the name, but in the meantime a friend of mine had read about her on my blog and commented "she's my kind of girl."

I met this particular friend while working on my English degree at university so I immediately knew what she meant.

The Obedient Female is a literary figure that has annoyed and frustrated me for quite some time. The ideal woman in the White Male dominated world of English lit was an angelic figure who did what she was told, passing meekly and compliantly from father to husband. When blessed with decent parents, or at least one parent of that variety, obedience can work out reasonably well for a heroine. But when she is cursed with a greedy, selfish and capricious family, she becomes a doormat, a vulnerable creature in need of assistance and rescue.

I certainly don't want to raise She Who Marries the Jerk Her Family Foisted Upon Her or She Who Forsakes Her True Love Because Her Family Does Not Approve.

And definitely not She Who Sat in the Cinders because she never had the ovaries to demand the respect she deserved and reclaim her rightful place in her own family. If we all waited for some twit to show up with an uncomfortable piece of footwear, where would we be?

Clarissa who has drawn my scorn on this blog before was very much the obedient ideal, passively acquiescing to every demand of her despicable brother except in one thing - she refuses to marry the Jerk Her Family Foists Upon Her. She also refuses to marry the guy who rescues her from her family and then rapes her, even though that would restore her good name. If she hadn't been so insufferable about it all, I could actually admire her.

One day while I was driving SWDNO to school, she saw a woman wearing a burka for the first time in her life. I tried to explain it in as neutral a way as I could, despite my discomfort with the practice, to say it was a cultural thing and that a woman can choose to wear a burka if she wants.

"That's unfair," she said.

At that point I was forced to agree. I have read finely worded arguments from highly educated Muslim women arguing for their right to wear a head scarf or a burka if they choose, but I can't help wondering how much choice is involved when a woman is subject to a strongly patriarchal society and accepts that a man should have the final say over what she does and how she dresses. Works great as long as you don't end up with a crappy family or a violent husband. Or if you should happen to disagree with the person who has power over you.

Meanwhile, my own culture can hardly be highly praised when there are still so many obstacles for the uppity woman to face. She is still apparently doing most of the housework and the childcare even when she is not a stay-at-home mom. She is still not paid as much as a man. She is still subject to misogyny and violence both in abusive homes and in society at large.

She has never been the President of the United States and has only managed to be Prime Minister of Canada for 30 seconds or so.

I want my girl to grow up to be a strong, independent young woman who will make a way for herself in this world whether she finds her handsome prince or not.

Philosophically, I am as anti-obedience as the rest of my oppressed sisters, but as a mother I can't help wishing from time to time that my little proto-feminist would just once put her damn shoes on the first time I ask.

But she knows how to say "No!" and mean it. That is progress.

Friday, April 2, 2010


Can someone tell me where March went?

I actually had a post percolating in my head all last month but somehow it never found the way to the great egress.

But at least I can say I posted in April.

And just so I can say there was actual content in this post, here's a quick story:

She Who Does Not Obey was telling me about a nightmare she had the other night. We were at a funeral for three women (?) and suddenly everyone started turning into Evil Lobsters!

Even Her Father and me.

I started to smile despite myself, because Evil Lobsters! How cool is that?

She started to smile too. I didn't want her to think I didn't get that her dream was still scary despite the presence of diabolical crustaceans, pointing out that laughing at a scary dream was the best way to deal with it.

"If you have the dream again, you could throw hot water at them," I suggested.

She rolled her eyes at me and said, "Mom, they were already cooked."


Saturday, February 27, 2010


A while back, She Who Does Not Obey got a snow day but I did not. The school board gets very trigger-happy sometimes, closing the schools at the least suggestion of bad weather. My work is less easily panicked, unfortunately.

I usually go with taking her to my work's daycare which is open as long as work's open, but this time I decided to see what her two friends down the street were up to. To SWDNO's delight, friends' mom was more than willing to take her on as there was already one other girl from up the street coming by and even numbers are always better in those situation.

Normally getting SWDNO out of the house on such a day is like trying to pry a lid off a reluctant pickle jar, but this was the perfect carrot. She is always ready to run down the street whenever the chance arises.

After I told her the good news, we were both hurrying to get ready for a change when the phone rang and friend's mom spoke to Her Father, asking if we might have a bit of peanut butter we could spare. It seems they had gotten themselves an unwanted boarder and needed to serve an eviction notice.

SWDNO was overjoyed with the notion of a mouse in the house and tickled at the idea of peanut butter being a mouse's favourite food.

Until it suddenly occurred to her that the peanut butter was going to be used lure the mouse to his doom. It was ammunition for a weapon of mouse destruction!

All of sudden, her moral campass kicked in and she became a conscientious objector - a conscientious objector who decided to hide in her bed and refused to put any more clothes on.

I did my best to rationalize the mouse's death sentence with tales of mouse poop and general untidiness, but could make no headway, all while the clock ticked away inexorably toward 9 a.m. Why couldn't they just trap the mouse? she asked and I could think of no other reason than that people usually went for the cheapest and easiest method of mouse disposal, a philosophical position that she would hardly find defensible in her current state of mind.

Fortunately for me, she hit upon a scheme which many had tried before her - she would just have to build a better mousetrap. She hunted around (clock still ticking!) until she found a shoe box and after some consideration, she demonstrated some methods by which she would lie in wait for the mouse with peanut butter on the lid, and then quickly slam the box down, trapping him as easy as can be.

I quickly agreed that this was an excellent plan -what with mice being so slow and easily fooled -and hustled her out the door.

As it happened, all the trouble was for naught - friends' mom was going to use a humane trap after all. Mickey would be caught and released into the wild to continue his unsanitary marauding somewhere else (or make his way back to their hospitable home once again).

I should have known friend's mom would have planned to use such a trap. One time, she made a foolhardy comment about actually liking our unruly dogs and being quite willing to adopt them should the need ever arise. Lucky for her, Her Father wasn't there to immediately take her up on such a unwise offer.

As for the mouse, he managed to elude capture on that day, despite the ingenious deployment of shoe boxes and other trapping devices. His fate is still a mystery to me.

But if he ever makes his way up to this end of the street, I have a feeling we will soon be the proud owners a yet another pesky pet.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

i can haz blog post

When I started this blog I had visions of posting several times a week, encouraged by my favourite blogs which I checked every day - even when I knew the blogger was more sporadic than that.

These plans were quickly downsized to dreams of a weekly post, followed by bi-weekly plans and then monthly.

That was clearly an unreachable goal as well (see December posts, lack thereof).

I shall blame Her Father and his insistance that we trek into the wilds of New Brunswick last week to visit his family instead of staying home and lying idly around on soft cushions, hove off like oriental potentates and stuffing ourselves with Hershey's Kisses. I still have two unopened bags of the things - by this time in the Christmas season, Her Father and I are usually scrounging under sofa cushions for any strays that might have eluded our cavernous maws.

I did start a blog post in a hotel room in Halifax, but sadly there was no time to lollygag around and finish the damn thing. There was breakfast to be bought and the hotel dog to pat. BTW, if you're ever in Halifax and missing your favourite pooch, I would recommend the Best Western Chocolate Lake as a reasonably priced way to assuage your craving for dog-petting. That's Coco the Chocolate Lab in the masthead and she was a real sweetie.

She Who Does Not Obey gives it four stars.

I do love going to Halifax where I also got to see my sister TR and her husband where we can also revel in wild cat abandon as well. My sister is a Cat Person and has just upgraded once again to a three-cat family with the arrival of two cute little fuzzballs named Sonny and Ben. I would enthrall you with Cute Kitteh Photos at this point if I hadn't misplaced my digital camera the day before our trip and not realized this fact until two minutes before the arrival of our ride to the airport.

There were 27 photos on the disposible camera I bought at Shoppers the first day of our arrival. I believe that SWDNO and a few other humans may have managed to get into some of them, but I doubt that they were ever without feline companionship. I'm sure the photos will all turn out something like this, with which you can amuse yourself until I get around to bringing the camera in to be processed.

New Brunswick was nice too, but I could have done without the snow covered drive back to almost-Halifax, watching vans doing pirouettes in the lanes ahead. We intended to go all the way back to Halifax that day but bailed at the airport hotels.

It was probably the most restful part of the whole trip and involved a lot of sitting around and reading an entire newspaper from end to end - which I haven't done in about 8.5 years - while occasionally looking out the window at a storm that I was extremely glad I was no longer in the midst of.

So now I am back home and actually finding the time to post while patting a slightly different shade of lab.

I shall endeavor not to turn it an annual event.